Hospital Advertising Strategies to Recapture Patient Volume During the Pandemic

The first six weeks of this pandemic cut patient volume in half for U.S. health systems. Now, six months in and counting, emergency rooms continue to see patient visits down by 25% due to consumer fears of COVID-19 transmission mixed with increased use of telehealth and other alternate care settings. While trends are definitely up for virtual care, increasing overall volume for primary and specialty care remains a priority for most hospitals. From surgical, stroke and cardiac care to wellness exams, health screenings, rehab therapy, chronic care management and more, your patients have been delaying necessary care. How can you re-engage them in their health and recapture that patient volume?

Some hospital marketers are using industry list-serves to compare ideas with colleagues, occasionally sharing examples of tactics or key messages – but we know a better way. We dove into soviews+, our hospital competitive profiling solution, to share recent television spots (streaming and broadcast), digital video and other creative in market as another source of inspiration.

To help hospital marketers further refine advertising strategies, we reviewed scores of creative samples promoted by health systems across the country. We were encouraged to see marketers pivoting to digital multichannel marketing strategies to engage audiences and retain patients by making people feel comfortable seeking care again.

As the pandemic continues, how hospital marketers are meeting the challenge to bring back patients and renew their focus on health: Click To Tweet

We emerged with three key takeaways and a handful of what we considered to be some of the best advertising examples. Enjoy!

Empathy is nice, but action is better. We have heard “We’re all in this together” repetitively as a public mantra. What patients need now is information on specific actions taken to ensure their safety and promote a renewed focus on their health. See how this spot from Yale New Haven presents a creative approach to its safety story and building confidence among patients to reconnect with their care providers:

For more clever points, Yale New Haven also does a nice job with similar ads in their “Stop Putting It Off” campaign, which lightheartedly shows the effects on everyday life when care is delayed:

There are alternatives to filming entirely within your hospital. A full-scale filming production may not be ideal for most health systems right now due to limited time and/or access to the environment given safety requirements. Alternatives include voice-overs with still photography or stock b-roll video footage, smaller-budget filming of your staff, studio interviews or self-recorded smartphone videos – like this one from Cancer Treatment Centers of America:

Physicians may have more trust. Most consumers understand that health systems need patient volume to help them recover financially. That may create a perception of desperation. However, according to a recent Kline & Partners study*, more patients are looking to their physicians to “guide” their health journeys. Watch how Advent Health and Baylor Scott & White Health infuse their physicians to bring patient safety to the forefront:

*Rob Klein, Kline & Partners, A Strategic Health Care Marketing webinar, Consumer Concerns About Receiving Care During the Pandemic —And How You Can Help Patients Come Back, June 26, 2020.

While these samples are intended to spur some creative thinking, the very best insights will come from knowing what your own competitors are saying within your own market. Only then can you truly define your own position across your competitive landscape and develop advertising assets that capture greater share of voice and ultimately higher market share. For that level of insight, take a moment to learn about soviews+, an interactive competitive media market profile tool designed exclusively for hospitals and health systems. soviews+ offers an analysis of top drivers, key messages, and more – including samples of your top competitors’ creative assets – empowering you to make strategic, data-driven market decisions to compete with confidence.

About the Author

Carol Dobies, MBA, is the CEO and Founder of Dobies Health Marketing, where she has been bringing healthcare brands to life for 35+ years. Share your thoughts with her by tweeting @DobiesGroup, connecting with us on LinkedIn, or by commenting on our Facebook page.

Data Visualization: Illuminating Healthcare Marketing Strategies

Worldwide, the healthcare data analytics market is expected to be worth nearly $50 billion by 2024. That’s a lot of data analysis, and with good reason – it’s no secret that data drive smart decisions. And yet, we see all too often that the resulting analyses fall short of telling healthcare leaders what they really need to know.

Tables and spreadsheets have their limits – all the information is there, and it looks tidy enough, but finding the so-what amid a sea of rows and columns that extend far beyond your screen is challenging. If we keep important insights locked in cells, they don’t tell stories, so they don’t provide much value. Data visualization, on the other hand, is an excellent way to bring data to life. It heightens your ability to recognize patterns and opportunities that may otherwise get lost in the haystack.

While we long ago mastered Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics for informing web and digital marketing strategies, we use Tableau to provide custom dashboards and other data visualization tools that inform better business decisions.

Click dashboard to enlarge


“By integrating data from multiple sources and synthesizing insights into easy-to-follow visuals, we illuminate growth and new business development opportunities for our clients.”
— Jordan Kloewer, Health Data Analyst


Dashboard Analytics

Primary care is a leading indicator of market share growth in a health system, so it is important to quickly identify utilization trends by location and by service line. With dashboard analytics, it’s easier to see patterns that may predict growth or decline in new versus established patient volume – valuable information for deciding where to focus marketing efforts to meet goals, streamline operations, enhance access, or potentially transfer marketing dollars to new service lines based on volume and capacity.

Click dashboard to enlarge

Data visualization identifies trends that direct data-driven marketing decisions. Click To Tweet

Visual Mapping

When assessing market share at the service line level, interactive charts provide the ability to add filters and legends for competitive profiling purposes. Tableau also allows for advanced visual mapping functionalities. These maps quickly plot, geographically and by volume, where competitors are located compared to other clinics, hospitals and organizations. While you may intuitively understand the competitive landscape, this tool is useful in gaining additional insight about growth opportunities in market.

Visual mapping indicates where patients originate, informing highly targeted marketing tactics to be deployed in those markets. Additionally, as a strategic planning tool, visual mapping can assist in planning for new facilities, ambulatory/outreach services, provider recruitment or service area expansion.

Click map to enlarge

Click map to enlarge

Visual mapping provides a unique view of the competitive landscape. Click To Tweet

With the continued emphasis on data in healthcare, it’s important to optimize return on investment by making sure the data points you gather, in the end, will come together to paint a meaningful picture. Through platforms like Tableau, Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics and others – coupled with deep dives by our skilled strategists and health data analysts – our clients are seeing their market landscapes more clearly and making more informed market decisions.

For more information about market data and analytics for healthcare organizations, visit dobies.com/data.

About the Author

Carol Dobies, MBA, is the CEO and Founder of Dobies Health Marketing, where she has been bringing healthcare brands to life for 35+ years. Share your thoughts with her by tweeting @DobiesGroup, connecting with us on LinkedIn, or by commenting on our Facebook page.

Dobies Health Marketing and Grapevine Designs Collaborate to Support the KC Healthcare Community

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (May 1, 2020) – As part of their shared commitment to serving the local community, the teams at Dobies Healthcare Marketing and Grapevine Designs donated time and talent to support the launch of a new initiative from the Kansas City Healthcare Communicators Society (KCHCS). The program, called KC Loves Healthcare, recognizes and honors healthcare professionals and support teams throughout Kansas City for their heroic work and dedication.

“We commend KCHCS for creating the KC Loves Healthcare program, and we are proud to join with Grapevine Designs in contributing our resources to support the message,” said Carol Dobies, MBA, founder and chief executive officer of Dobies Health Marketing. “With local healthcare heroes doing everything they can for our KC communities from the front lines of COVID-19, there is no better time than now to lift them up by showing our shared appreciation.”

At KCLovesHealthcare.org, local businesses, hospitals and healthcare organizations can purchase custom KC Loves Healthcare apparel, totes and other items as gifts for their employees. The items all feature a locally designed, heart-shaped logo that captures the unified spirit of the Kansas City healthcare community. “Each time local health professionals use these items or see others using them out in the community, they will be reminded of how much Kansas City appreciates them,” said Janie Gaunce, president and CEO of Grapevine Designs.

The custom-designed logo is available for download from the website, making it accessible at no cost for use in signage or other homegrown ways of showing support. Site visitors may also choose to make a monetary donation to established foundations that benefit KC-area hospitals and front-line workers.

For more information on the KC Loves Healthcare program, visit KCLovesHealthcare.org.

About Dobies Health Marketing

Since 1992, Dobies Health Marketing has offered highly specialized expertise in strategy-first marketing for health companies. The Kansas City-based company serves the marketing and branding needs of the entire health industry, from hospitals, health systems and payers to technology firms, medical device manufacturers, associations and certifying boards. With a promise to always engage strategy first, their mission combines strategic marketing with creative communications to create healthier brands.

About Grapevine Designs

Grapevine Designs markets the message of clients in a way that is ingenious and memorable, imparting the heart and soul of the brand. Based in Lenexa, Kan., their services include branded merchandise and recognition, creative services, company store programs, advertising and marketing, product search and more. Learn more at grapevinedesigns.com.

Is Advanced TV in Your Media Plan? How to Safeguard Share of Voice this Political Season

Right now it is understandable that COVID-19 coverage is dominating the airwaves (and likely your own communications, too). But when that subsides, we will still find ourselves in the midst of an attention-grabbing election year. Huge coffers of political ad dollars will be dispatched to command as much share of voice in your market as possible between now and November. The question is: How can you break through the noise so your own TV advertising dollars are well spent in the face of so much competition for consumer attention?

The answer: Advanced TV. And here’s why:

Experts predict a 57% growth in political ad spending this year, with a total ad buy of $6 billion. That’s a jaw-dropping amount, yes, but consider this: The majority of those dollars ($4.4 billion) will go to broadcast TV, cable TV and radio buys, while the remaining $1.6 billion will go toward digital videos, primarily distributed via Facebook and Google.

See the opportunity there? Advanced TV is not a notable part of the political advertising media mix – but it can be in yours.

How can you break through the noise so your own TV advertising dollars are well spent in the face of so much competition for consumer attention? The answer: Advanced TV. Here’s why: Click To Tweet

Television has evolved far beyond the living room, and your under-50 audience segments are spending more and more time on non-traditional TV outlets. According to eMarketer, the number of U.S. “Pay TV” (cable, satellite, also known as linear TV) households in America is steadily declining, while “Non-Pay TV” (internet streaming, also known as advanced TV) is growing at the same rate. Consumers want the anywhere, anytime convenience that advanced TV provides, so meeting them on those platforms helps capture the share of voice you need, even as political ads amp up elsewhere.

RELATED: Exploring the Advanced TV Ecosystem: Options for Amplified Targeting

The appeal of advanced TV advertising doesn’t end there. Consider these benefits, compiled through collaboration with our digital media partners at Goodway Group:

Advanced TV empowers you to meet consumers where they live, work and play. Studies show that Millennials, Gen Z and Gen X consumers already spend close to 1.5 hours/day watching advanced TV (with Boomers coming close behind at just under an hour per day). Growth in streaming platforms means advanced TV viewership continues to rise, creating crucial new audience segments that your linear TV media buy will have trouble engaging, particularly in a national election year:

  • “Cord-cutters” – those canceling their cable and satellite subscriptions
  • “Cord-nevers” – those who never had cable or satellite subscriptions in the first place
  • “Cord-togglers” – those who view a mix of linear and advanced TV platforms

Cord-cutters are expected to be upwards of 55 million people by 2022, with another 40+ million cord-nevers and counting. Bottom line: Pay TV consumption is expected to drop from 68% in 2019 to 57% by 2023, and streaming media consumption is overtaking traditional TV channels in top markets across the country.

Going digital enables much more precise, data-driven targeting. Better targeting makes your advertising dollars stretch further. Meaning, you can eliminate wasted ad impressions by making sure your ads reach only prospective customers, avoiding those whose behaviors, interests and demographics indicate high unlikelihood to buy. Advanced TV’s robust data (which can be leveraged alongside your own first-party/CRM data and other third-party data sources) enables you to make reliable, data-driven decisions about when, where and to whom your ad should air. As a result, you’ll reduce wasted impressions that come standard with linear television buys. But speaking of wasted impressions via linear TV…

Sophisticated advanced TV reporting will illuminate smarter strategies for linear TV buys. Your advanced TV media buy will capture, analyze and report on audience behaviors and engagement levels as your ads play – such as what times your primary targets are engaging most with your ads, what types of shows they’re watching, and how many times they need to see your ad before taking action. Integrating advanced TV into your media mix will unlock new insights that can drive other parts of your media plan as well, including linear TV.

Advanced TV audiences are often more engaged – which is visible in real time. Rather than just playing it as “background noise” (as is common with stationary living room TVs), consumers who stream TV tend to be more actively tuned into the content they’re consuming, giving you a better window into how, where and when to best resonate with them. The ability to see results in real time allows for rapid adjustments in campaign parameters for improved effectiveness, greater ROI and a healthy share of voice.

For all those reasons and more, smart 2020 marketers will go to advanced TV, where they will find many customers but few political advertisers. As we continue transitioning to an ever more online environment, secure your share of voice in a very crowded media market – deploy smart media strategies so your messages meet the right people at the right place and time.

RELATED: The Secret Behind Share of Voice (How It Drives Market Share)

About the Author

Julie Amor, Chief Strategy OfficerJulie Amor, MHA, President and Chief Strategy Officer for Dobies Health Marketing, has 30 years of experience elevating healthcare brands. Share your thoughts with her by tweeting @DobiesGroup, connecting with us on LinkedIn, or by commenting on our Facebook page.

Exploring the Advanced TV Ecosystem: Options for Amplified Targeting

TV and digital media consumption are on the rise, particularly right now as social distancing and self-isolation takes hold across the country. Advanced TV, which has been steadily growing in popularity for the past few years, is well poised to help consumers fill their time and escape from topics like COVID-19 and the 2020 election by watching what they want, when and where they want it. That’s the consumer-centric offering of advanced, non-linear TV, which is expected to be in nearly half (43.5%) of U.S. households by 2023.

As a healthcare marketer, have you incorporated advanced TV advertising into your media mix? If not, it’s time to get started. I discuss the benefits of advanced TV advertising in detail in this blog post, and I encourage everyone to read it if you’re interested in learning more about how to protect your share of voice in the hyper-crowded ad spaces of 2020. But first, if you could use a breakdown of the basics of advanced TV advertising options, this is the blog for you.

So, what exactly is Advanced TV?

According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, advanced TV is, “any television content that has evolved beyond traditional, linear television delivery models.” Compliments of our digital media partners at Goodway Group, the following information provides a good overview of the various types:

Connected TV

Example: A viewer watching television through a Roku device sees your commercial on the HGTV streaming app.

  • Connected TV ads are served on televisions via over-the-top devices (Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube, Hulu, Roku, Apple TV, etc.)
  • They are also served on smart TV apps and gaming consoles
  • As the most evolved inventory in the advanced TV ecosystem, Connected TV offers broad reach alongside highly sophisticated audience targeting capabilities
Exploring the Advanced TV Ecosystem – Options for Amplified Targeting: Click To Tweet

TV Everywhere

Example: User accessing her Hulu account from a tablet sees your commercial while watching The Hunger Games.

  • These ads play on streaming apps created by TV networks, which require a login to access
  • The ads are only shown on mobile, tablets and desktop devices.
  • Generally skewing to a younger audience
  • Tracking is available on cookie-enabled devices, making this a particularly good tactic if you have click or activity goals

Video on Demand

Example: A viewer with a Comcast set-top cable box sees your commercial while watching an on-demand episode of Chopped on the Food Network.

  • These ads are shown during on-demand viewings via set-top box apps through a cable or satellite provider
  • The ads are only shown on a television, and they complement your linear TV buy by extending reach to other audiences

Programmatic TV

Example: Viewer watching the latest episode of This Is Us live on their television sees your commercial because it was purchased through a programmatic platform.

  • This type involves linear inventory that can be purchased programmatically and served during live programming
  • These ads are only shown on televisions, and are limited to national campaigns only
  • With the largest scale, programmatic TV is a great fit for brand awareness campaigns seeking national exposure

From highly engaged audiences to data-driven optimization tools and a heightened ability to reach key audiences where they live, work and play, there are many reasons why advanced TV advertising increased 276% from 2017 to 2020. The steady, ongoing rise in advanced TV spends by TV advertisers further reflects a healthy overall sense of optimism and satisfaction with ad performance on these platforms.

RELATED: Is Advanced TV in Your Media Plan? How to Safeguard Share of Voice this Political Season

RELATED: Meaningful Insights to Guide Your Hospital Advertising Strategies

About the Author

Julie Amor, Chief Strategy OfficerJulie Amor, MHA, President and Chief Strategy Officer for Dobies Health Marketing, has 30 years of experience elevating healthcare brands. Share your thoughts with her by tweeting @DobiesGroup, connecting with us on LinkedIn, or by commenting on our Facebook page.

Level the Competitive Landscape for Your Health System

Bring your local market into focus with data-driven insights

During my career as Vice President of Marketing for a large academic medical center, we were considered a marketing machine. As the market leader, we owned share of voice and grew our share of market year after year, consistently outpacing our competition in customer engagement.

As brands with the greatest market share, market leaders typically enjoy the largest profit margins. On a local level, they are the powerhouses of the industry, household names with significant brand awareness. Market challengers – those vying for the position of market leader – must cause positive disruption among competitors by differentiating themselves from the market leader, thus elevating themselves above the competition.

Share of voice is a critical metric for consumer marketing. Quite often, when hospitals evaluate share of voice and competitive positioning in the context of the full competitive landscape, they find their ad spend is not enough. Why? Because increasing share of voice is essential to market share growth.

Moving the dial on top-line growth requires a smart, strategic approach to advertising – and to be strategic, you need data that bring your entire advertising landscape into focus. Click To Tweet

Data-driven marketing decisions have the power to elevate a market challenger to a market leader, securing market share growth and building both volume and preference. soviews+, a proprietary media market profile tool, arms hospitals and health systems with essential, exclusive data to inform creative and strategic decisions. soviews+ empowers hospital leadership to evaluate their current brand positions, shape positioning strategies and fine-tune advertising tactics.

The only interactive competitive media market profile designed exclusively for hospital marketers by hospital marketers, soviews+ delivers hard-to-find, specialized insight. With presentation-ready findings delivered right to your desktop, soviews+ analyzes and packages market intelligence on your top competitors – including share of voice, media spend, media mix, core messaging, creative samples (spot TV, print, digital and social), and more. By combining creative strategy and marketing analyses with spend data for you and your top competitors, soviews+ uncovers details you need to know about your advertising landscape, so you can enhance strategic decision-making in your local market.

To schedule a brief online demonstration of soviews+, contact me online or reach out to me directly at jamor@dobies.com.

Reader Tip: For a detailed, empirical analysis of the relationship between share of voice and share of market, I recommend reading, “Budgeting for the Upturn – Does Share of Voice Matter?”. Among other revelations, this study by The Nielsen Company shows when share of voice exceeds share of market, you gain “excess share of voice” points that, at the right threshold, will quantifiably produce extra market share growth.

About the Author

Julie Amor, Chief Strategy OfficerJulie Amor, MHA, President and Chief Strategy Officer for Dobies Health Marketing, has 30 years of experience elevating healthcare brands. Share your thoughts with her by tweeting @DobiesGroup, connecting with us on LinkedIn, or by commenting on our Facebook page.

 

Leading the Way: What Every New Hospital CEO Needs to Know from the Marketing Team

An image of executives engaged in a discussion.One in four U.S. hospitals hires a new CEO every 3-4 years. That statistic, which comes from a 10-year study by the American College of Healthcare Executives, is a call to action. Why? Because rapid turnover at the executive level can have adverse effects on hospital relationships with key stakeholders like physicians, staff, board members, community partners, donors and others.

Clearly, hospitals – particularly rural and frontier hospitals – are challenged by recruiting the right leader for the organization and its community. Few studies, and even fewer hospital marketing executives, have explored what it takes to prepare newly recruited CEOs for stronger leadership. When new CEOs have an in-depth understanding of local market conditions and positioning opportunities, they are better prepared to move the organization forward.

As the CEO and founder of a strategy-first health marketing firm, I have supported several healthcare organizations as they onboarded new CEOs. I find it is most helpful to bring clarity to only a few key strategies – just the top areas that have the greatest potential to protect and grow the organization’s value. To illustrate my point, here are three noteworthy highlights from a conversation I had with a newly hired hospital CEO:

  1. The marketing function should be data driven, and marketing metrics should align with the organization’s strategic plan. To inform the organization’s marketing strategies, a strong marketing leader applies muscle to measuring and analyzing the right performance indicators, including relevant market share, consumer sentiment and advertising share of voice. The CEO will want to see the most important metrics rolled into the organization’s Executive Dashboard. He or she will also want to know that marketing leaders manage the department’s own metrics to measure ad performance and return, web analytics, and changes in share and sentiment each month. We shared a typical dashboard, pointing out:
    • Current and three-year market share
    • Current net promoter scores by hospital and key service lines
    • The biggest area in need of and/or poised for improvement
  2. Marketing leadership should actively ensure that the brand contributes to the current and future value of the organization. It’s important for the CEO to understand that brand is what you do. A hospital’s brand is an intangible asset that lives in the hearts and minds of its consumers, formed by actual experiences with the hospital and what is communicated to them. With this foundation, the CEO also needs to understand it is marketing’s role to ensure that everyone knows how to authentically deliver on the brand promise across the enterprise. This is the perfect segue to discuss how the CEO can support the marketing team in that effort, which brings me to this last point…
  3. It is essential to have an annual strategic marketing plan that outlines how the organization drives sustainable volume growth and market share. To manage that plan and the service line plans that support it, marketers should meet monthly with service line leaders to ensure marketing readiness and measure results. From a CEO’s perspective, this information is necessary to understand if service line leaders are ready to support growth.
Turnover is too high among hospital CEOs. Here’s how marketing leaders can change that: Click To Tweet

This was the first of many conversations that led to the CEO being highly engaged and supportive of the marketing function – and it created a strong starting point for ensuring that the CEO continues to be a vocal champion of the brand. With turnover as high as it is among hospital chief executives, any vision for the organization’s future becomes notably harder to achieve. The path to greater success – for the organization as well as its C-suite leadership – must be paved with data-driven insights, smart growth strategies and a commitment to brand authenticity.

About the Author

Carol Dobies, CEO and Founder of Dobies Health Marketing

Carol Dobies, MBA, is the CEO and Founder of Dobies Health Marketing, where she has been bringing healthcare brands to life for 35+ years. Share your thoughts with her by tweeting @DobiesGroup, connecting with us on LinkedIn, or by commenting on our Facebook page.

 

Dobies Health Marketing is recognized as a top Digital Marketing Company on DesignRush.

Top 5 Healthcare Marketing Trends to Watch in 2019

2019 Healthcare Marketing TrendsWhen asked about their top concerns for 2019, most healthcare executives say they need innovative ways to connect with consumers, demonstrate value, use data effectively and keep people healthy. In response, many thought leaders are publishing predictions for 2019 in healthcare and healthcare marketing.

I know what you’re thinking: So many lists but so little time, right? As executives, we love to read, but it can be difficult to find actionable information in a sea of trends and predictions. That’s why I’ve taken time to dive deep into the issue and emerge with what I see as the top five trends to watch in healthcare marketing for 2019:

  1. The deliberate and intentional use of data: Using data to drive decisions is a top theme in all aspects of healthcare marketing. It includes the strategic use of predictive data and analytics to identify consumer intent (what they plan to do or buy) and impact the resulting action. Along the same lines is the use of artificial intelligence (AI), which can sort through huge volumes of data to monitor consumer activity and pinpoint trends that marketers can quickly act upon. AI is in position to help transform healthcare in the same way, by perusing data patterns to identify possible health risks ahead of time. This allows for a greater emphasis on prevention, minimizing costs, and better patient outcomes.
  1. Personalized experience: As stated by Ad Age, “People still crave meaning and connection more than ever.” Consumers respond to relevant, relatable, authentic content that feels as if it were created just for them. This is another way data can drive our thinking, our communication and our creative content, so we are executing targeted marketing strategies that offer a better user experience. And we are seeing new ways to customize through voice search, web applications, chatbots and video – all high-performing trends for more personal communication.
  1. Brand culture: Healthcare employees are joining consumers in searching for an authentic brand culture – a company’s core values, practices and behaviors – that they can align with and support. Such a culture promotes a human focus, offers a positive experience, and conveys overall health and wellness. It also provides innovative services that are convenient (e.g., outpatient expansion and retail locations) and accessible (e.g., telehealth and virtual care). A branded culture is engaging and meaningful, and it provides a purpose-driven connection, not just a bottom line.
  1. Attainable well-being: The focal point here is on keeping people healthy versus simply treating illness. We call this the lifecare model. Lifecare is about inspiring and supporting decisions that encourage healthy lives, which involves putting the consumer at the center and collaborating with community partners to encourage and deliver better health beyond traditional methods. We see this in the rise of population health management, value-based care, consumerism, preventive health through wearables, fitness, nutrition, and the emphasis on strategic partnerships that expand access to health across communities. Our efforts should concentrate on making health a lifetime consumer goal, while still addressing acute and chronic healthcare issues where needed.
  1. Agile marketing: Agile marketing is data-validated, customer-focused, highly collaborative and quickly adaptive to continuous change. “Agile” is a term that has traditionally been associated with software development, but it’s building momentum in all industries for achieving higher productivity, innovation and alignment with multiple teams. According to AgileSherpas’ State of Agile Marketing Report, nearly two-thirds (61%) of traditional marketing teams report plans to start an Agile implementation within the next 12 months.

Top 5 Healthcare Marketing Trends for Executives to Watch in 2019 Click To Tweet

The link among all these trends is the strategic intent on which they are based. All themes are deliberate, authentic, thoughtful and targeted. Mass communication will not deliver the same results. As consumers become savvier and start to demand relationships over transactions, our healthcare marketing efforts should follow suit.

At Dobies Health Marketing, a strategy-first healthcare marketing firm, strategy is part of our company ethos. It is a practice embedded in everything we do, the way we think and the actions we take. As the framework for making better business decisions for ourselves and our clients, it is a deliberate, data-driven process by which we jointly define business goals and develop the road map for achieving them.

For more information on strategy-first marketing for healthcare, contact Dobies Health Marketing.

Reader Tip: To read more current industry trends, I recommend downloading “Healthcare Trends 2019.” This Healthcare Leadership Intelligence Report from B.E. Smith presents key findings on influential trends from a survey of hundreds of healthcare executives. Survey topics included Industry Directions, Career Factors, Talent Management and Leadership.

About the Author

Julie Amor, Chief Strategy OfficerJulie Amor, MHA, President and Chief Strategy Officer for Dobies Health Marketing, has 30 years of experience elevating healthcare brands. Share your thoughts with her by tweeting @DobiesGroup, connecting with us on LinkedIn, or by commenting on our Facebook page.

The “3 Ds” of Strategy-First Marketing

A compass pointing to “STRATEGY” as a symbol of strategy-first marketing

Strategy-first – it’s the bedrock of our brand promise in healthcare marketing, branding and advertising. Why? Because when it comes to growth and success as a healthcare organization, strategy is essential. It is also complex and often misunderstood.

What is strategy?

First, let’s talk about what strategy is not. Despite some common misconceptions, strategy is not a plan, perspective or vision. It is not a function of one singular department, nor a task for one person or team. To reduce it to the purview of anything other than your entire organization is to diminish its impact on your vision and what it takes to get there. In other words, strategy is foundational. While its development may rest with a core team, its reach should span the entire enterprise.

For us, strategy is part of our company ethos. It is a practice embedded in everything we do, the way we think and the actions we take. As the framework for making better business decisions for ourselves and our clients, it is a deliberate, data-driven process by which we jointly define business goals and develop the road map for achieving them. A strategy-first approach requires:

  1. Data: For many, it can be tempting to lean on personal opinions and speculation about what consumers need and want, but the right answers come from data. From consumer research and market studies to internal surveys and in-depth interviews, data-driven insights should inform the current situation, identify new opportunities and predict competitor responses.
  2. Debates: When deep in defining strategy, expect hearty debates to ensue with executive leaders and managers about the organization’s future and the systematic way to pursue growth.
  3. Decisions: Strategy yields a clear framework for business decisions, helping leaders make and enforce clear strategic choices every day. Without clearly communicated, data-driven decisions packaged in a well-defined marketing strategy, you find the organization running in different directions, using resources unwisely and potentially generating market confusion.
The “3 Ds” of Strategy-First Marketing: Click To Tweet

For our clients, we engage in what we call these “3 Ds” of strategy-first marketing. With data in hand, we listen, we probe and when necessary, we challenge – we encourage thoughtful debates. We engage at a deeper level than most because we want our clients to uncover new market opportunities and make smart, strategic decisions that unleash the true potential of their brands.

And, for that reason, we always advise our clients to share their strategic marketing plans across the organization because it defines the strategy everyone adopts to pursue market share. Similarly, when we develop a new brand strategy, we stress the importance of using a summary of the brand strategy as a filter for business decisions. We recommend posting it on conference room walls and referencing it frequently to ensure everyone in the company makes decisions and takes actions aligned with the brand strategy, because that is the promise you have made to your customer.

Which brings me back to the beginning, and our firmly held belief that a marketing strategy is not a media plan, nor a tactical plan, nor is it about the organization’s creative advertising. These can only be derived effectively after the marketing strategy is defined. While other health marketing companies may jump straight to creative execution, we will first define the strategy and work diligently to ensure alignment in all marketing, branding and communications. From C-suite leadership to the marketing team and those on the frontlines with your customers, your company grows when everyone embraces strategy first.

About the Author

Carol Dobies, CEO and Founder of Dobies Health Marketing

Carol Dobies, MBA, is the CEO and Founder of Dobies Health Marketing, where she has been bringing healthcare brands to life for 35+ years. Share your thoughts with her by tweeting @DobiesGroup, connecting with us on LinkedIn, or by commenting on our Facebook page.

 

Dobies Health Marketing is recognized as a top Digital Marketing Company on DesignRush.

Advancing Rural Health: Seven Steps to Service Line Marketing Strategy

Image of a stone path, representing the seven steps to establishing a service line marketing strategy.Over the last few weeks, we have been discussing market challenges for rural health providers, as well as opportunities for innovation that emerge from creating an ecosystem of health via community partnerships and an emphasis on the value of primary care. With primary care alignment supporting the rural health ecosystem, critical access hospitals and rural providers can concurrently focus on service line growth to meet the needs of rural and underserved areas that lack sufficient healthcare services.

Hospital CEOs likely have many questions about how to best prioritize marketing dollars based on service lines with the greatest profitability, growth prospects, operational readiness, recruitment capacity and more. The organization’s strategic plan may hold some, but not all, of the answers. To fully illuminate answers and achieve targeted service line growth for the organization, we suggest this seven-step, data-driven process to establish a comprehensive service line marketing strategy:

  1. Establish a shared vision among leadership.
    In small and rural hospitals, physician engagement is essential for meaningful integration of the service line with primary care and community partnerships.
  2. Collect and analyze organizational data and research.
    A firm understanding of market data, including your most recent consumer preference and awareness studies and community health needs assessment results, should reveal consumer demand for specialty services.
  3. Review and rethink your relationship with key competitors.
    While it is natural and customary to perceive other providers as competing with you for patients, a more sustainable approach now includes evaluating how others can collaborate with you to extend services into your community. For example, a collaborative partnership for telehealth with regional referral centers can be an effective way to retain patients who require specialized expertise, while also protecting your opportunity to provide post-acute care in the community. Viewing the competition through a lens of collaboration can lead to amazing physician recruitment and expansion opportunities, as revealed by our friends at Kearny County Hospital in Lakin, Kansas.
  4. Define factors of differentiation.
    From the consumer’s perspective, are there service or access factors that differentiate your hospital from another provider? A well-defined, compelling value proposition is a good place to start as you determine how you differentiate in the market.
  5. Identify operational considerations.
    As you define the marketing strategy for your service line, you will need to address operational barriers to success (shortage of providers, limited access, etc.). When we discuss service line marketing plans with hospital leadership, we emphasize how the plan is actually a blueprint to support organization-wide growth. Hospital and physician leadership, together with practice managers and marketing staff, will guide the execution of operational and marketing initiatives that contribute to market share growth. As we always say, marketing is not a department.
  6. Develop and execute the creative strategy.
    With the marketing strategy defined through steps 1-5, you now are in the position to create an integrated creative campaign to reach consumers where they live, work and play. Limited marketing budgets may seem a formidable challenge, so tap into resources you may not have considered before, such as dhmstudio+. And remember, your community partners can be powerful brand ambassadors to extend your reach and build awareness with people across the region.
  7. Measure and track success.
    Not only does your marketing team want to showcase marketing success, they also need to demonstrate how their campaigns contribute to organization-wide goals. While you cannot reasonably track and measure everything, we recommend agreeing to goals during the strategic marketing planning process. Appropriate measures may include patient/new patient volume, market share, share of voice, retention rates, patient satisfaction, web traffic, call volume and “how heard” data. More insight on measuring what matters can be found

Advancing Rural Health: Seven Steps to Service Line Marketing Strategy Click To Tweet

All hospitals, regardless of size, benefit from having a strategic approach to overall and service line marketing. For rural and critical access hospitals, it is especially important to establish a set of priorities that allow them to capture the hearts and minds of the community and keep care local, where outcomes are more successful and targeted growth can be achieved to ensure future sustainability. Strategy moves an organization forward with a unified vision, and it sets the course for a healthy future.

Author’s Note: This article is Part 4 of our series on Advancing Rural Health. I encourage you to dive into the rest of the series as well:

For rural health organizations in need of new strategies and tactics to advance health in the local community, expert assistance is within reach. Find out how dhmstudio+ delivers the expertise you need to build awareness, shape new programs, deepen connections between your brand and the local community, and form community partnerships to sustain the presence of local healthcare.

About the Author

Carol Dobies, CEO and Founder of Dobies Health MarketingCarol Dobies, MBA, is the CEO and Founder of Dobies Health Marketing, where she has been bringing healthcare brands to life for 35+ years. Share your thoughts with her by tweeting @DobiesGroup, connecting with us on LinkedIn, or by commenting on our Facebook page.